Our adventurers, each for reasons all their own, banded together in the town of Greybark on the eve of the Winter Solstice. The townsfolk had reported missing children, and suspicions ran deep that evil occult forces were at work.
After using Arder’s fire abilities to tunnel through the Great Ice Wall to the north, our party found themselves in the Northern Ice Wastes, stalked by Ice Wolves and soaked to the bone from the flooding their tunnel induced. Ahead in a grove of ancient evergreens, the party noticed the glow of a fire—and, carried on the brisk, biting wind, the sounds of a gathering. Erroll sneaked through the grove to a clearing and found the source of the fire and noise. Snippets and fragments of words in a tongue familiar yet unknown drifted to his ears, and he saw the glint of an ornate bejeweled dagger, hot-orange in the firelight. A shaman! Even better—treasure! These creatures were strange, though, and unlike anything he’d ever seen before. Taller than he, a halfling, yet shorter than most elves or men he knew… how curious…
Reporting back to the party, Erroll related what he had seen and heard (leaving out some choice details about the estimated street value of such a finely-crafted northern-made ceremonial dagger) and convinced the team to send in a ranging party.
The forward party, consisting of Erroll, Arder, Astrafel, and Aldara, swiftly developed a cunning plan whereby the Shaman and his congregants were distracted by the return of the Goblin Ice Queen (who was actually just Astrafel, strumming her father’s mandolin and glowing brightly with Aldara’s magical light) while Arder’s fire-manipulating magic maid their ceremonial fire flash and blaze rapidly, melting all the snow in the clearing. In the ensuing confusion and distraction, Erroll placed a single, precisely-thrown dagger in the back of the Shaman, killing him instantly the moment after he handed Astrafel his Ceremonial Athame.
Niskadora, having initially stayed back with Dru and Cecil, began to grow anxious waiting for the advance party. She decided to range ahead to the evergreen grove and check on the progression of events. Meanwhile, Cecil and Dru were attacked by an Ice Wolf, on its way back to its master, bearing a small child frightened but unharmed in its massive jaws. Cecil steeled his resolve and attacked the Ice Wolf, but his lunging swing missed and the Wolf, dropping the child, tore at Cecil’s shoulder. Dru responded by shapeshifting into an enormous white tiger and tearing the Ice Wolf to pieces with tooth and claw. Cecil pursued the frightened boy as he fled southward, back toward Greybark.
Niskadora, Dru, and Cecil eventually decided to regroup with the advance party in the grove. They arrived just in time to see the celebrants, aghast at the murder of their shaman, attack Astrafel with hammers, screwdrivers, and other shop tools pulled from inside their ceremonial robes. Arder took control of the bonfire and sent it spreading out in a straight line across the clearing, cutting half the attackers off from the rest of the group. Between the blowback from Arder’s unnatural fire and sword, arrow, and spear from the party, the creatures were quickly and handily dispatched.
By the dying firelight, Erroll searched the bodies of the fallen, finding nothing of consequence but an old worn map in the pocket of the Shaman’s robes. The party, needing time to recuperate and heal their wounds, and needing more information about the missing children, returned to Greybark.
That evening in Greybark, the group interviewed the boy’s father, Finbar the baker, as well as Mayor Arlon, to determine the nature of the disappearances. By all accounts, the missing children were often poorly-behaved and just as likely to die by misadventure anyway, so it was no sense getting all worked up about it. Mayor Arlon, however, pragmatically decided that it would cause irreparable damage to the city’s reputation if children continued to go missing, no matter how devious or ill-behaved they were.
It became clear that the children were being taken from their beds at night, every so many years, in the nights leading up to the Winter Solstice. Armed with this knowledge and the peculiar map Erroll liberated from the dead Shaman’s body, the group decided to set back out in the morning to find the destination of the missing children.
Ultimately, their search led them north, past a great magical river twinkling with iridescent light, to a great Ice Palace belonging to Lord Kringle. After a confrontation with more Ice Wolves outside the castle walls, and dodging arrows from the Ice Elves along the parapets, the party dashed inside the castle to a huge anteroom lined with torches.
Through a set of double doors ahead of them lay an enormous workshop, staffed by hundreds upon hundreds of the same creatures they had slaughtered in the evergreen grove the night before. Stalking the aisles of tables with razor-tipped shoes and cracking whip was Kanker, the shop’s foreman.
Shapeshifting into an arctic fox, Dru distracted Kanker and lured him out into the anteroom, where Aldara charmed him to view her (and her companions) as trusted friends. Kanker led the group through the workshop to a long table upon a high dais, at which sat Lord Kringle.
While feasting with Kringle, the group learned that he had been overthrown in all but name as ruler of this place by Kringle’s son, Krampus. Destined to toil for an eternity under the cruel leadership of this monstrosity, Kringle was no longer the jolly, happy bringer of joy he used to be. Leveraging Kanker’s overwhelming desire to please his friend Aldara, the group found Krampus in the stable, sleeping near Kringle’s sleigh.
After a vicious battle, Krampus was slain by a mighty and decisive blow from Cecil’s enormous two-handed broadsword. Kringle, though distraught at the loss of his son, was relieved to be out from under his manipulative control and vowed that no more children would be taken from their homes.
The party returned to Greybark, loot in hand, to carouse and regale the patrons of The Owl’s Feather Inn with tales—only slightly exaggerated—of their exploits and victory over the mighty and terrifying Krampus.